Today, the Legal Defense Fund and partner civil rights organizations sent a letter to Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson regarding polling site changes and voter notification. This is the second letter sent to Secretary Watson regarding polling site changes and inaccurate information. Today’s letter addresses Sec. Watson’s failure to implement the recommendations outlined in the first letter. The letters also reflect the vigilance and unity of civil rights groups in Mississippi working to protect voting rights in the state.
The March letter demanded that the Mississippi Secretary of State issue rules and regulations to help local officials accurately and promptly report polling site changes to the Secretary, as local officials are statutorily obligated to do. Many local officials failed to do this during the 2020 election and the 2022 primary. This resulted in inaccurate information in the statewide election management system, which the Secretary administers.
The organizations asked the Secretary to issue rules/guidance on two things: (1) to establish a timeline for local officials to report poll site changes, and (2) to remind and instruct local officials about the notice they must send to voters when their polling site does change.
The Secretary has the legal authority (and the moral responsibility) to address these issues and ensure that all Mississippians have the information they need to vote. Inaction will result in needless confusion and disenfranchisement, disproportionately falling on Black Mississippians.
Read the full letter here.
Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.